I have had this conundrum for a while. I look at, discuss, and even write about jackets, yet I hardly ever get to wear one. To top it off, I have acquired around 50 ties through dedicated thrifting and many of them have never seen the light of day. In order to rectify this situation I made a New Year’s resolution to wear more jackets and ties.
The biggest hurdle to keeping this resolution is my company’s dress code. The dress code is a very casual business casual which means that dungarees are abundant and my chino/OCBD “uniform” is viewed as dressy. While many people believe that a dress code is instituted to set a minimum standard, it is also sets a ceiling for what is acceptable.
The ceiling is a not as clear as the minimum primarily because of the unspoken rule that superiors should dress better than their subordinates. For instance, the uniform of a general in the military is more intricate and ornamented than an officer. This military example translates into the private sector in the form of suits, shirts, ties, and shoes. There is an unspoken expectation that a subordinate will not attempt to outrank his superior in terms of dress. Basically, I knew that I was treading into uncertain territory.
Despite my concerns about upsetting the natural order of the org chart I decided to carry out my resolution. I chose Tuesday/Thursday as the two days a week that I would wear a jacket and tie. I picked these days because the office is emptier on these days and it would allow me to fly under the radar. The first day was not as bad as I expected. Sure I had to weather a few “got a job interview today?” comments and other snarky remarks, but not nearly as many as I had anticipated.
I am so glad that I made this resolution. At least for now there has been no major push back from management and all I had to do is to put up with a little teasing from my co-workers, which I was going to have to endure about one thing or another anyway. For this small price getting ready for and going to work has been so much more enjoyable. I have been able to wear ties and jackets that had not been touched up to this point and really learn about what works , what doesn’t, and what looks best on me. I can’t believe that I have been putting off one of life’s simple joys for so long. Now I just need to get more jackets.